week 6. pomegranate macs x chocolate ganache

using my base recipe, I subbed out cocoa powder for the equivalent amount of almond flour and pomegranate powder to flavor it.

this week, I experimented with different baking times. usually, I bake on a convection setting with the door shut for 5 minutes, then another 10 minutes with a wooden spoon propping the oven door open. this time, for one of the batches, I tried 8 minutes with the door shut, and 7 minutes with it vented. that pan of macs turned out a much peachier color than the otherpastel pink ones. it must have just cooked the exteriors too fast/burned them a little. either way, they all tasted the same and were delicious. I still don't think I've found the perfect baking method because my macs don't always get the best feet. I might try something a little different again next week!

ingredients | shells

mixture a:
pomegranate powder                          7g
almond flour                                                30g

almond TPT*                                                300g
powdered sugar                                        38g

egg whites                                                      73g
gel food coloring (optional)             2 drops         

mixture b:
egg whites                                                      73g
salt                                                                       0.5g
water                                                                  50g
sugar                                                                  188g
light corn syrup                                          10g

* TPT means equal parts powdered sugar and another ingredient, in this case it’s almond flour, and you will use 150g of each to equal the 300g.

method | shells

bring all ingredients to room temperature.

from “mixture a,” sift together the pomegranate powder, almond flour, almond TPT, and powdered sugar into a large bowl and set aside. (it’s important to sift to make sure everything is very fine).

from “mixture b” whisk the egg whites and salt in a standing mixer with the whisk attachment set to 4 and leave it there while you make a syrup.

make a syrup from “mixture b.” first add the water, then the sugar, then the corn syrup into a small saucepan. pour the sugar in very slowly so that it all gets incorporated into the water, being very careful not to get any on the sides of the saucepan or your syrup can crystallize. do not stir!! stirring can also cause crystallization. just let it do its thing.

heat this syrup on medium until it boils and reaches 248°F. really, don’t stir it!

tip: you can take the chill off the eggs if you hold the bowl over the heating saucepan for a few seconds while swirling it around or stirring it.

turn up the standing mixer to 8 to create soft peaks while the syrup is still heating up to the right temperature.

to create the meringue, slowly pour the hot syrup along the side of the bowl into the mixing egg whites and let it mix until it’s stiff, but still shiny.

take the egg whites from “mixture a,” plus a spatula full of the meringue and mix it into the sifted almond, pomegranate powder, powdered sugar mixture that you made earlier. fold this together with a spatula until you form a thick paste. this is where I added the 2 drops of food coloring. (it didn't cause any cracking this week, so I assume the cracking from my blueberry week was the result of something else. maybe over-mixing).

fold the rest of the meringue into that paste until it becomes glossy and slightly runny. (you’ll know when it’s done when the batter slowly falls off your spatula like a thick ribbon and settles into itself in the bowl after a few seconds. you don’t want it to be any runnier than that because you don’t want the mixture to spread once it’s piped).

scoop batter into a pastry bag fitted with about a 10mm piping tip, and pipe quarter sized bulbs onto parchment paper or a silicone baking mat on a sheet pan.

tip: if a little nub from where you released the piping bag doesn’t settle into itself, you can use a small paintbrush to tap it down.

tap the bottom of the pan a couple times to prevent any air bubbles while baking.

bake on your oven’s convection setting at 280° for 15 minutes. for the first 5 minutes with the oven door closed, and the remaining 10 minutes with a wooden spoon propping the oven door open a bit.

let cool completely before filling.

ingredients | chocolate ganache

semi-sweet baking chocolate*     10oz
unsalted butter                                         1 tbsp

heavy cream                                                1 cup

* use ahigh quality chocolate for best flavor.

method | chocolate ganache

roughly chop up your chocolate and place in a bowl.

heat cream in a small sauce pan over medium until it simmers.

pour hot cream over chocolate and stir until it starts to melt the chocolate.

add the butter and continue to stir until completely combined and smooth.

line a quarter sheet pan with plastic wrap and spread chocolate out. wrap with more plastic wrap on top and place in the refrigerator for at least an hour.

scoop up chocolate and place in a piping bag. squeeze the bag a bit with your hands to warm up and soften the chocolate to the right consistency for piping.

pipebulbs of ganache onto one side of your mac sandwich and twist the other one on top to evenly distribute the filling.

tip: the sizes of all of your shells will tend to be slightly different, so make sure you buddy up your shells to similarly sized partners so that the entire cookie is a consistent size.